25 Night Cruise sailing from Papeete to Ft Lauderdale aboard Pacific Princess.
There's a certain romance to sailing on a small ship like Pacific Princess which offers a refined elegance yet with many of the wonderful amenities found on larger ships. With a smaller group of guests on board, you'll enjoy the camaraderie among fellow guests who share your passion for travel and visit unique ports that only smaller ships have access to.
Highlights of this cruise:
Tahiti is not just an island - Tahiti has always been a state of mind. The bustling capital of Tahiti and her islands, Papeete is the chief port and trading center, as well as a provocative temptress luring people to her shores. Immortalized in the novel Mutiny on the Bounty, who could blame the men of HMS Bounty for abandoning their ship in favor of basking in paradise And what would Modern Art be without Tahiti's influence on Gauguin and Matisse Today the island is a charming blend of Polynesian joie de vivre and Gallic sophistication. But venture out from Papeete and you find a landscape of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and deserted beaches.
Contrasting with other French Polynesian ports, Papeete's coastline initially greets you with a vista of commercial activity that graciously gives way to both black and white-sand beaches, villages, resorts and historic landmarks.
Majestic mountains sculpted by ancient volcanoes, a shimmering lagoon and a barrier reef dotted with tiny motu, or islets - welcome to Bora Bora, perhaps the most stunning island in the South Pacific. Only 4,600 people live a seemingly idyllic lifestyle in the main villages of Vaitape, Anau and Faanui. No wonder those generations of travelers - including novelist James Michener - regarded Bora Bora as an earthly paradise.
Connected to its sister islands by water and by air - the landing strip sits atop Motu Mute, one of the reef's islets - Bora Bora remains relatively unspoiled by the modern world.
To discover the storied Polynesia of Melville, Gauguin and Michener, you have to travel to Tahiti's outer islands. Moorea, the former haunt of Tahitian royalty, is one such island where you still see fishermen paddling outrigger canoes, pareo-clad women strolling along the roads and children fishing from island bridges. Moorea is an island of vertiginous mountains - most of its 14,000 people live along the narrow coastal shelf. Behind tin-roofed wooden houses lie lush green mountains rushing up to fill the sky.
French Polynesia comprises some 130 islands, of which Tahiti is the best known. Just 12 miles across the lagoon from Tahiti lies Moorea.
The monoliths of Easter Island have fascinated and puzzled Westerners since the Dutch seaman Roggeven made landfall there on Easter Sunday, 1722. The mystery of Easter Island's first settlers remains just that - a mystery. Today, most anthropologists believe the island was settled as part of the great wave of Polynesian emigration. (The oldest of the Moai, as the great monoliths are called, date to 700 A.D.) The society that produced the Moai flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries, but population growth, deforestation and food shortages led to its collapse. Today some 3,400 souls inhabit this 64-square-mile island, which lies some 2,200 miles equidistant from Tahiti and South America.
The society of Rapa Nui possessed stone-working skills on a par with those found in the Inca Empire. Islanders also possessed a script called Rongorongo, the only written language in all of Oceania.
Please note: The current fee for entry into the National Park is $80 per person, this fee is included in all organized shore tours. Independent passengers are required to pay this fee on arrival at the park.
In 1535, Francisco Pizarro labeled the open plains where Lima now stands as inhospitable. Despite the verdict of the great conquistador, Lima became the center of imperial Spanish power, a City of Kings where 40 viceroys would rule as the direct representatives of the King of Spain. With independence in 1821, Lima became Peru's capital. Near Lima, one of the world's most desolate deserts is home to the famed drawings of Nazca. These drawings inspired Erik von Daniken's best-selling book Chariots of the Gods. With mysteries seeming to be part of Peru's history, perhaps these drawings are in fact the largest astronomy book in the world.
The breezy, seaside city of Manta is the second largest port in Ecuador and possesses one of the world's most varied terrains. To the west of Manta lie the Galapagos Islands. To the east rises the great rampart of the Andes. The Mantas were known for their traditional balsa rafts in the coastal waters and their ceramics and pottery. A huge tuna statue greets you on its shores, a whimsical nod to the tuna capital of the world. Fresh seafood is always on the menu, and a stroll along the promenade lets you take in the beach scene. The bustling center of town, an easy walk from port, displays a lively marketplace selling Panama hats, silver jewelry and apparel. There is lush green parkland the nearby colonial town of Montecristi, the center of the Panama hat industry and the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, home to indigenous flora and fauna and cheeky howler monkeys. Explore the rich culture, heritage and people of Manta during scenic adventures that take in the Archaeological Museum, which highlights a small, well-curated collection of ceramics of the Manteo-Huancavilca culture that flourished here between 800 and 1550 A.D. Whether you explore its past or its vibrant city of today, a day in Manta is a rich and colorful experience.
According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is where the boys are. The city's reputation as America's Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the Yachting Capital of the World, with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the Venice of America with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
The city sits 24 miles north of Miami and is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale, who was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. Look hard and you might find remnants of three of them today. More people seem to be interested in taking a water tour aboard the Carrie B.